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TLO Grocery Store Review: WinCo Foods

If you’ve ever wondered what a Biblically-based triptych by 16th century Finnish painter Jheronimus Bosch, like the one above, would look like come to actual life, then go no further than the brand new WinCo Foods in Moore, preferably around the first of the month on a Saturday afternoon.

Based out of Boise, Idaho, the super-market chain is best known for being employee-owned and saving patrons moneys by having a mostly no-frills set-up, including a bag-it-yourself set-up. Opening about a month ago, Winco is the new kid on the block and the excitement was both palpable and curious, as a good five-to-ten minute wait in the heat to actually get into the store was a bit of a disastrous preamble, causing tensions to run a bit high as customers were trying to jam themselves in from multiple angles.

Personally, I knew I should have just turned around and went home when within seconds of making it inside those coveted doors an extremely Bushwick Bill-esque lady jammed her cart right into the back of my ankles, clipping my heels, and saying “Watch where you goin’, you fat mother*cka!”

True, I am fat and yes, perhaps I should have been watching…behind me, but was the expletive really necessary, I wondered as I mindlessly followed the herd of shoppers through the narrow entryway, down to the produce aisle, like the living wave of food-stamp bearing humanity that we all were; it was impossible not to notice the remarkable savings in the periphery, from boxes of macaroni and cheese that were a measly quarter to name-brand tortilla chips at 68 cents a bag, deals lining the walls yet were impossible to reach.

Like a cross between entering the doors of Wonka’s Factory and an ironic punishment within Dante’s third circle of Hell, if I wanted to view Paradise, today wasn’t the day to do it. Since the closing of Buy for Less at N.W. 23rd and Penn, I’ve been in a grocery limbo of sorts, whoring myself out to whatever goodtime supermarket Johnny flashes savings my way in the weekly circular, usually with no honor or humanity.

But I felt that WinCo Foods, even though I’d have to make a trip to the living Bartertown that is Moore, might be different, a new start. And maybe, in another life, in another time, it could have been. With a beautiful bakery that offered jalapeno cheese bagels to the meat counter that had spectacular deals on ribs—both baby-back and country-style—as well as plenty of odds and ends that are comparable in price to that of Aldi on a bad day, this newest addition to the scene holds a lot of promise.

But, it’s a lot of promise I should have waited a few months to see, as this obligatory first trip took it out of me, physically and spiritually.

Maybe it’s just worth the wait, no matter how desperate for bargains the lot of us are, for WinCo to open closer to home near 39th and Portland. With a puzzling store layout that is exhaustive enough without ceasing to exist in the wave of mutilation that is trying to pinch pennies, it wasn’t long until I retreated to a dark corner of the place and had a full-on panic attack, all sides of me flanked by an unwashed brethren that left a throbbing pain behind my right eye that still hasn’t gone away.

Open 24 hours a day, I’m sure I would possibly have had a better opinion of WinCo and their mission had I personally made a better executed plan of attack, say, at two in the morning on a Wednesday. I'm not going to fault them for being popular, mind you, but, as long as the novelty of being a new store with the lowest prices in town (for now) is strong, I’ll take my chances paying a few dollars more elsewhere. This was  assertively enforced as I stood in the check-out line, my basketful of what sales items I could get my hands on, stretching all the way back to the frozen foods, multiple lanes of customers waiting up to 30 minutes to their goods and get out.

If shopping at a joint where everyday--for now, at least--is like Black Friday, where fighting the crowds for RC Cola six-packs and two-for-one BBQ sauce gets your rocks off and spectacularly so,  then you’re about to be in for a ball-draining  treat by braving the crowds at WinCo.

The rest of us, however, must continue to wait patiently for someday, someway, our price-driven prince will truly come. ¡Cómpralo ya!


Oh Ry In Eye Ay, Oh Ry In Eye Ay. Follow Louis on Twitter at @Louis Fowler.

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